Author: Frank N. Wilner

More delay for STB nominee

Karen J. Hedlund’s quest to be confirmed to the five-member Surface Transportation Board (STB) and give Chairman Martin J. Oberman a Democratic majority hit another speed bump Oct. 6 when Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) objected to Hedlund’s Senate floor confirmation.

It’s Bernie Sanders Time at the STB

News Item: The Surface Transportation Board (STB) has found that among seven Class I railroads, five—BNSF, CSX, Kansas City Southern, Canadian Pacific (CP)-owned Soo Line, and Union Pacific—were revenue adequate for 2020. Norfolk Southern and CN-owned Grand Trunk Western were within a fraction of a percentage point of making the cut.

Rail Labor Ordered to Negotiate Crew Size

July 29, 2021, FRANK N. WILNER, reporting from Washington D.C. (Copyright© 2021, Railway Age): Another step in a lengthy, tortuous and torturous slog toward reducing—where efficient and safe—train crew size to just one locomotive engineer was achieved by three Class I railroads July 28 with the finalizing of four binding arbitration awards.

SMART-TD’S Current Appeals Court Victory A Pyrrhic Win

A Pyrrhic win is a victory that inflicts such a devastating toll on the victor that it is equivalent to a defeat, because it takes a heavy toll that negates any true sense of achievement or damages long-term progress. The phrase originates from a quote from Pyrrhus of Epirus, whose triumph against the Romans in the Battle of Asculum in 279 BC destroyed much of his army and, while a tactical victory, forced the end of his campaign. If you examine it closely, the Aug. 28 U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit vacating an injunction that forced Sheet Metal, Air, Rail Workers-Transportation Division (SMART-TD) General Committees to bargain over crew consist size and redeployment is a Pyrrhic victory for the union.

A Dark and Stormy Night for Labor Talks

WATCHING WASHINGTON, RAILWAY AGE MAY 2020 ISSUE: Into the valley of the shadow of death seem to be marching rail management and labor this round of national wage, benefits and work rules negotiations. Knights of the Round Table—indeed, any table—they are not. So mired are they in the muck of distrust during this COVID-19 crisis, they couldn’t even agree on teleconference negotiations.